Top Chef alum and Smoked & Stacked founder Marjorie Meek-Bradley is crafting a sausage-heavy menu (think: pigs in a blanket, brats with sauerkraut) for the 180-seat indoor/outdoor beer garden Continental Modern Pool Lounge has installed on the site of a former park in Rosslyn.
Copper pots hang on a rack over a large kitchen island, where the man in the chef’s jacket has started painting white plates with crimson streaks of reduced beet juice, one component of the evening’s salad course. Farther down the marble island, the amuse-bouche is already set to go: Eggshells, their tops expertly removed, are filled with an egg custard crowned with poached lobster meat.
There’s a new guilty pleasure in town. It’s called the New Yorker, and it’s lust at first bite.
Everything about the breakfast sandwich is more fun than oatmeal with skim milk and bananas: slices of tender, pungently pickled pastrami; an egg fried just so; melted, nutty-tasting Comte cheese for bonding; a sea salt-sprinkled bun that manages the neat trick of being both soft and sturdy, so that when you chomp down, the pierced yolk soaks into the roll rather than your fingers. Pepper jelly sticks it to the tongue with some heat.
"What I love about the DC food scene over New York's is the sense of ownership people have in their restaurant and level of pride you see in everyone from the bartenders to the cooks to the chef. People really invest themselves here in one place, whereas in New York they tend to bounce around. It really shows in the food and experience. NYC can feel a little impersonal and cold." -- Marjorie Meek-Bradley, executive chef, Ripple, Roofers Union, and Smoked & Stacked
To accompany our eighth annual Best Of issue, we asked the people who are making D.C. great to tell us their favorite things about This Town. They shared the kind of D.C. day they dream about, where the weather is perfect, the farmers market is always open and the museums are free (-er than normal, that is).
With a "Top Chef" alum at the helm and an Instagram account full of food pictures that can induce a Pavlovian response, Smoked and Stacked has met the hype: On opening day, the restaurant moved about 200 pastrami sandwiches and sold out of the smoked meat by 2:30 p.m.
Smoked & Stacked, a fast-casual sandwich shop featuring Meek-Bradley’s house-smoked pastrami, will open Sept. 9 at 1239 Ninth St. NW. The restaurant is one of several that will open in retail space at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center during the next few months.
Menu included 60-day dry-aged beef, Nantucket Bay scallops and ricotta gnocchi, as well as Wainer Family Farm's signature micro greens and produce
Marjorie Meek-Bradley, who helms Ripple in Cleveland Park, is among those a little bewildered by a description. Google describes her restaurant as a “[c]olorful haunt with an inventive, seasonal New American menu & artisan cocktails in a comfy setting.” She characterizes her food as Northern California inspired by Mediterranean flavors and seasonal ingredients. “To me that’s how I cook, but it’s a mouthful.”
Peter Bayne called his partners in Smoked & Stacked as soon as he got the bad news. The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs had determined that their sandwich shop, featuring smoked meats by former “Top Chef” contestant Marjorie Meek-Bradley, qualified as a fast-food restaurant and that their location — on the Ninth Street NW side of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center — is not zoned for fast food.